Big boost to Make in India! Boeing to set up a new facility in India
US aerospace major Boeing has offered to set up a new production facility in India for the production of its F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters if the company gets contracts for large number of fighters for both the Indian Air Force as well as the Indian Navy. Also, since the Indo-US defence and security ties have been on an upswing, the company does not foresee any issues related to transfer of technology (ToT).
Dan Gillian, vice president of F/A-18 and E/A-18 programs at Boeing, while discussing the Block III Super Hornet’s capabilities, with Financial Express Online, said that “India-US relationship is uniquely positioned and we are working on setting up a new production facility for building the next generation aircraft in India. We have a robust ToT plan.”
With the US Navy making major investments in Block III, F/A-18 Super Hornet has a long life ahead. “The Super Hornet is the most advanced fighter that India could manufacture here and this will help the Indian side to make the AMCA (Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft) air plane,” he said.
The Advanced Medium Combat aircraft (AMCA) could be a fifth-generation plane being developed by the state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Since the time India has been designated as “Major Defence Partner” by the Trump administration in 2016, the defence trade and technology sharing with India has been elevated to a level of its trusted allies and partners.
To a question if the company is focusing on the Indian Navy’s planned acquisition of 57 multi-role carrier-borne fighters, the company official said that F/A 18 Super Hornet would be the ideal machine for the Navy’s carrier, as no modifications will be required.
Companies including the French Rafale of Dassault Aviation, F/A-18 Super Hornet of US based Boeing MIG-29K of Russia, F-35B and F-35C of Lockheed Martin, US and Gripen from Saab, Sweden are in race for the Naval order.
According to Gillian the company is also offering F/A 18 Super Hornet for the Indian Air Force requirement of 114 fighter aircraft.
Boeing Company which has been present in India for several decades has been working to set up 21st century ecosystem for aerospace & defence manufacturing in India, which will help in making Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative in the defence and aerospace sector a success.
According to Gillian, “The Company through its Indian partners has been building parts for helicopters and aircraft here in India. And we have more than 160 Indian suppliers.” This will lead to also lead to maximizing indigenous content in the production of the F/A-18 in India for its armed forces.
And, he added that there are tie ups with state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Mahindra Defence Systems (MDS) for manufacturing the F/A-18 Super Hornet in India for its armed forces and will also work towards jointly developing of future technologies.
“Depending on the order from the Indian side for the F/A-18 Super Hornet, the number of suppliers can go up higher and we are already in talks with them as all of this depends on the requirements,” he added.
Latest Technologies ::
The infrared search and track system (IRST), already in development as part of the earlier Block II upgrade, to give the advanced fourth generation aircraft an additional means to detect hostile low-observable aircraft at long distances.
New Distributed Targeting Processor-Networked (DTP-N) and Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT) data link.
A single Block III Super Hornet will be able to passively scan with the IRST, spot targets, and present the pilot with a rough bearing overlaid on the aircraft’s radar screen.
To further enhance this flexibility, along with DTP-N and TTNT systems, the Block III aircraft will also have an updated satellite communications system, another hold-over from the Block II programme.
Information from the aircraft’s own sensors and mission systems, as well as the data it receives from other sources, to feed into different displays on a single 10-inch by 19-inch flat panel touch screen that replaces the existing multi-function displays.
The completely redesigned cockpit architecture, known as the Advanced Cockpit System, will also include additional backup displays and manual buttons in case this single screen fails in part or in full.
Dual seat F/A-18Fs can have this practicality in each the front and rear cockpits.